The break-up of the Big East Conference is nearing completion. ESPN.com is reporting that the so-called Catholic 7 schools—DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova—will retain the Big East moniker as they break away from the football-playing schools in the current conference.
The new Big East will begin play next season and will also include Xavier, which has played basketball in the Atlantic 10 since 1995, and Butler, which just joined the A-10 this season, that according to the sports website’s sources.
The exit of the Catholic 7 from the current Big East is being helped along by television money, in this case the Fox Sports Network. The network contacted the schools initially and helped lay the foundation for the breakaway bid with the promise of lots of cash in the form of a media-rights deal.
The other thing that still needs to be negotiated—besides the price of the league name—is which league will get to hold its postseason basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York.
For what it’s worth, Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino thinks the Catholic 7 should get the rights to the Garden for its tournament. The Big East has held its tournament there since 1983.
That would be eight years before the Big East executed the decision that ultimately led to its demise and messy divorce—adding football.
The conference was originally formed with a primary focus on basketball. In 1979, Providence, St. John’s, Georgetown and Syracuse were the driving forces behind the league, and those four schools invited Boston College, Connecticut, Holy Cross, Rutgers and Seton Hall to form the league.
Rutgers and Holy Cross turned it down. Villanova joined in 1980 and Pittsburgh came on board in 1982.
That was also the year Penn State applied to join the Big East, but was rejected, getting only five of the six votes Bonukset ovat tarkoitettu kasinopelien kokeilemiseen, joten niihin liittyy peliehtoja ennen kuin bonusrahat voi kotiuttaa. necessary for membership.
The Big East didn’t need football. In a remarkably short time, the Big East went from nothing to being the power conference in all of college basketball, a reign that reached its zenith when three Big East teams made the Final Four in 1985.
I’ll be honest, I like that the basketball schools are going to break away because trying to serve two masters—football and basketball—never really worked for the Big East.
The football conference was born in 1991 with five schools joining the league, Miami, Rutgers, Temple, Virginia Tech and West Virginia, but only Miami joined as a full member at the time.
Rutgers and West Virginia followed suit in 1995 and Virginia Tech came all the way on board in 2000. It was also in 1995 that Notre Dame joined the Big East for everything but football.
But the football league, as it turns out, was never anything more than a stepping stone for programs looking for bigger and better things.
That became evidence when Miami and Virginia Tech jumped to the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004 and, unfortunately, took Boston College with them. Temple got booted out as a football-only member in 2004 because of its lack of success, attendance and facilities.
Since then, it has been mostly chaos for the league. Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and South Florida came into the league for 2005 and Connecticut’s fledgling football program made the jump to Division I-A.
Then all hell broke loose.
In 2010, TCU accepted a bid to join the Big East in 2012. Then it didn’t, not once it got an invitation to the Big 12. Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced in 2011 they were leaving for the ACC. West Virginia left the league for the Big 12.
Boise State and San Diego State were going to come on board, for football only, a decision that was reversed after the Bowl Championship Series changed its rules and made the Big East much less relevant as a football entity by lumping it with the small, less-prestigious conferences effective 2014, when the BCS launches its playoff system.
At the same time the Boise State and San Diego State moves were announced, the Big East also accepted Central Florida, SMU and Houston to join in all sports for 2013-14.
Navy accepted a football-only invitation, effective 2015, and Memphis jumped on board for 2013.
Temple came back for football only last fall and will become a full member next year.
But Notre Dame announced last fall it was jumping to the ACC, for everything but football, of course.
Rutgers will be headed to the Big Ten along with Maryland and Louisville was named to replace Maryland in the ACC.
The loss of Louisville was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, at least so far as the Catholic 7 was concerned.
So they’re going to break off and do their own thing, which in retrospect was the only possible outcome since the ill-fated decision to make it a football conference became a reality.